An Old Friend of the Family

by Fred Saberhagen
Release date: 1979
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, horror

Cover art by Robert Adragna (Ace edition). Cover art by Joe DiVito and Ivan Zorad (Tor edition 1987). Cover photos by Getty Images (Tor edition 2006).

"Vampires with a difference ! And the difference is Fred Saberhagen. His writing mesmerizes." – Brian Lumley.

Kate Southerland has been murdered. But she is not dead. Johnny Southerland has vanished, a severed, bloody finger the only clue.

The Southerlands are trapped in a blood-feud older than history. Their enemy is no mortal madman but the undying mistress of evil enchantment, Morgan Le Fay.

But the Southerlands are not Morgan's true target. She seeks to do battle with their protector, their defender, the only being who can save these mortals.

* * *

Kate did not sleep, or lose consciousness completely, but lapsed into a queer, semi-waking state. Her eyes, half-open, ached in the sunlight reflected from one dingy wall. But she did not even blink, afraid that if she tried to move she would find that she could not.

There were feet on the stairs, voices outside the door, then in the room with her. Three or four men, talking in low voices. A couple of them wore fur-collared blue Chicago police winter jackets, with badges on their fur-flapped caps. She could see details very clearly whenever they came into the center of her field of vision.

They'll take me home. Kate thought, they'll snap me out of this. One of the men took her arm to lift it. It clung to her side, amazingly stiff, resisting her pull without the least effort on her part.

The policeman said, "My guess is two, three days since she died."

(updated 2010-09-07)

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